From the Field to the Lab: Building an Inclusive and Immersive Experience for Students Entering Biodiversity Sciences

  • Tracy Heath (Iowa State University)
  • Kevin Quinteros (Iowa State University)
  • Morgan Moore (Iowa State University)
  • Thea Gessler (Iowa State University)
  • Corinna Most (Iowa State University)
  • Amy Toth (Iowa State University)


Iowa State University is home to many researchers studying the most pressing scientific issues of our time: climate change and the biodiversity crisis. However, the subdisciplines of the life sciences focusing on these problems lack diversity and remain difficult to access for those without prior experience. Studies have shown that there are significant barriers preventing individuals from historically marginalized backgrounds, particularly people of color, from gaining experience or comfort in biodiversity research. For many, these barriers include lack of exposure to the outdoors and field/laboratory experiences, as well as opaque processes for accessing opportunities in research or graduate education. This session aims to create solutions for eliminating barriers to entering biodiversity research careers. We are developing a course for early undergraduates to provide experience in the practice of biodiversity research and demystify the path to careers in our field. Our panel will discuss how early exposure to research in the life sciences influenced their career trajectories and lead small-group discussions with audience members. These conversations will prioritize undergraduate voices to identify ways this course can ease navigation of career paths in biodiversity science, thus increasing the participation of underrepresented voices, which is critical to solving the biodiversity crisis.



Published on
04 Mar 2022